Dedication: To Clarus, who inspired me to do this story! Thanks a mil Clarus! This is also for Angel of Iego and Snow Angel, who took the time to beta read this for me! Thanks girls, you're both such sweethearts!
"She's in here Lord Vader, but I'm not sure-"
"That will be all, Madame. Leave us."
So, he has finally found me. Ani has finally come. Or is it Vader now? No matter, Luke and Leia are safe. Safe in their new homes and buried so deep within my mind that it is only possible for me and me alone to find them.
I slowly open my eyes and stare at him blankly. He is dressed all in black, and on his belt he carries a lightsabre. But it isn't his. It must have been given to him by Palpatine, the so-called Emporer..
I know I probably look terrible. The disease is eating at my heart from the inside out for the past six months. There is nothing anyone can do. I doubt even the Chosen One could save me now.
Ani always said that I was an angel. Well, if I was, then I must be a fallen angel now.
She looks terrible. Her face is pale and drawn. She has lost so much weight its probably a miracle she's even alive right now. No. Not a miracle, just her will, which is the strongest I've ever seen.
I still don't know why I am here. I left her on Naboo to serve Palpatine. It was my choice. My choice to leave her screaming in our bedroom, my choice to leave the Jedi. My choice. So why am I here?
It must be her. No matter how hard I try to deny it, she is still my angel. And now, because of me, she is a fallen angel.
The doctors told me that it is a wasting disease, caused by stress, that slowly eats out the heart. It has infected only a few over the past fifty years and they still haven't found a cure for it. They've called in Jedi healers before, and even they cannot heal those that are infected.
She opens her eyes and she stares at me. Her eyes are still the most beautiful in the galaxy, even when they are tired and full of pain. The hurt in them doesn't seem to be only from this disease that is slowly and painfully killing her. There is another kind of pain in them.
With a great effort, she manages to whisper, "Ani..."
How I managed to speak I don't know. I haven't been able to speak for almost a week. I've just been so tired. Now though, I feel as though some strength has returned to my body.
I manage to hold a hand out to him. He comes over as if being controlled by someone else and takes it. He wants to speak, I can see it, but he doesn't know what to say. To apologize probably. To say that he is sorry for leaving me a sobbing mess in our bedroom in Theed Palace, for leaving me with a son and daughter who must be hidden from him, their own father, and the monster he now serves.
It's too late for sorry. But it's not too late for him to love me. After all, despite all he's done, I still love him. My Ani.
I wish I could tell him that, but the strength that was just there a moment ago is gone. All I can do is squeeze his hand slightly and stare at him.
I realize that Luke is going to look just like him. He did from the moment he was born. Blue eyes and a lock of blond hair. The difference in their eyes though is remarkable. Whereas Luke's eyes were wide and innocent, just as a nine-year-old boy's once were, Ani's are now darker. They lost their innocence long ago.
A fallen angel and a Jedi turned Sith. What a pair we make.
'A fallen angel and a Jedi turned Sith. What a pair we make.'
I heard that last thought coming from her. She's turning bitter, but not completely. I feel something I haven't felt in a long time.
She's a beautiful woman, even after she's been ravaged by this disease that has taken hold of her. She's the one perfect being in this galaxy and she's bitter. She shouldn't be. I made her this way.
I haven't felt this way in so long. I always regretted having to leave my mother behind all those years ago. I didn't return until it was too late. Ever since then, I haven't let myself feel anything except anger. But now regret flows through me full force.
"Padm?," I whisper, "I..."
I don't know what to say to her. I want to say that I'm sorry for what I've put her through, but I've never been good at apologizing to anyone, even to those who I care about.
Perhaps it's too late. To late for sorrys, but never too late for me to love her. Perhaps she should know that.
"Padm?... I never stopped loving you. I never once did."
He never stopped loving me. I think my mind always knew that, but my still heart needed him to say it. I close my eyes briefly andI feel more at peace than I have in a long time. He has always loved me. Even when he was a 'funny little boy.'
I open my eyes to him again and find that I can't see him as well as I could before. It won't be long now. My time grows short. I wish I could speak to him one last time.
It shall be granted... Young Handmaiden...
If I had the energy, I would have jumped at the voice inside of my mind. Only one person dared to call me that. Qui-Gon Jinn. By the Force, how could such a thing be possible?
You just thought it. The Force. Now hurry.
Who am I to argue with a Jedi Master, dead or not?
"Anakin," I say, "I never... stopped loving you... either. Things... will change one... day. There will come... a day when... you shall join me... and... we'll finally..."
I'm growing weaker and I can see a light forming behind him. It's almost time. I can't help but smile at him.
Those words. Words spoken by my angel. I haven't heard her voice in so long. She smiles at me. Though I can see the light in her eyes flickering, her whole face still glows when she smiles. It reminds me of a time when a young Queen smiled at a new Jedi Padawan in the midst of a huge celebration.
Those happy days are gone now. Dead by my hand, and by my Master's hand.
Why? Is it a lust for power? Or merely to prove to everyone that I am truly not a slave? I don't know anymore. I thought I did, but now I'm not so certain.
Still, she smiles at me. Me. I don't deserve it. I never deserved her. She could have had any man in the galaxy and she chose me. The wandering Jedi. What did I do to deserve the love of an angel?
I don't know. So many things I do not know.
Her eyes are drifting shut. NO! She can't leave me now! Is this revenge for me leaving her? No! Padm? does not take revenge.
"Padm? no! Don't go," I shout in a strangled voice.
I hear him screaming for me not to go, but I'm so tired. I just want to sleep Ani. Don't cry my darling. We'll see each other again. I promise.
I can see Qui-Gon waiting for me. He's there Ani. He's watching you with such sad eyes. He sees what the little boy he knew has become.
The other Jedi are there too. Master Windu, Master Adi, the entire Jedi Council with the exception of Master Yoda . He, along with Obi-Wan and the twins, are the last hope for the Jedi. The twins are your last hope, Ani. I pray they succeed where have I failed.
I love you Anakin Skywalker. Never forget that...
Across the galaxy, on two completely different worlds, two small children begin to scream.
She's gone. Gone to join the other angels. I thought I heard her whisper something about Qui-Gon, but it must have been my imagination. My beautiful angel.
Slowly, as though a great pain has been placed on my shoulders, I rise from the seat that I have been sitting on. I disconnect all the machines that had been hooked to her body. Then I pick her up and walk out the door. Everyone stares, but no one tries to stop me. Good. If someone did, I'd probably kill them on the spot.
Her head rests against my chest. The look on her face is so peaceful. She might as well be sleeping.
We arrived back at my castle sometime later. The stormtroopers give me a wide berth. I can hear what they're thinking. My face looks dead. They're probably right. I feel dead. My angel, my wife, my soul is dead.
I take her into my private chambers. Laying her on the bed, I then move to the closet and pull out a small chest. In it contains a few of her things that I have always kept with me; a few outfits, some jewelry, the japor snippet, and the letters we have written to one another over the years.
I manage to dress her in a simple white gown. It is Nubian, but it seems to have a bit of Alderaanian design to it as well. It was a birthday gift from the wife of Bail Organa, Kayla. Padm? had loved it.
For the longest time, I have managed to keep my grief at bay. Finally, it manifests itself in the form of one tear trickling down my cheek. That one tear represents so much. The grief I feel at her death, the pain of losing so much. It also represents another death. The death of Anakin Skywalker, who has now died with his wife, the angel Padm? Amidala Naberrie Skywalker.
All that is left to inhabit Skywalker's body is Darth Vader. I will do Skywalker one final service in cremating his wife's body. Her ashes will be sent to Naboo and scattered over what is left of the planet.
After finishing with the former Senator Skywalker, I check what messages I have. One of my spies has seen Kenobi on Malastare. Good. This confrontation shall settle things between us both.
I turn to leave, but I cannot help but take one last look at the wife of Skywalker. Anakin is dead, but why do I still feel a pang of sadness in my heart?
I shrug it off and leave the room. I call an aide over and tell him, "Have the body in my quarters cremated and do it with care. The body is to be given no disrespect whatsoever. Then take her ashes personally in a shuttle to Naboo. Scatter them from the ruins of Theed to the mountains to the West. It is to be done in absolute secrecy."
He nods and moves off to carry out the order. He is a good man, Lt. Piett. I think I shall keep him around for a while.
I stride down the hallway to my personal shuttle. I order the pilot to set a course for Malastare.
I'm coming Kenobi. Skywalker is not here to save you now.
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